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Monday, 16 February 2009

Aoraki Mount Cook ice core site reconnaissance

As well as having detailed discussions and poring over maps and images today, we took a ski plane flight to get a close up look at the possibilities. I have flown over the mountains of Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park many times, but they never fail to impress. Have a look at my Mount Cook Fly-by video that I took as a record for our discussions...

You can see how dynamic the glaciers are – being very close to the Tasman Sea the mountains get huge quantities of snowfall. The glaciers cause rapid erosion of the shattered bedrock – hence the quantities of rock debris all over the place. Because of the fast ice movement down steep slopes there are lots of open crevasses – especially as we are at the end of the summer, where a lot of winter snow has melted back. Unfortunately these conditions make it very hard to find good ice core drilling sites which need to be high, stable, flat or dome shaped areas with no crevasses!

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